Today we are saddened to hear that WCF-endorsed candidate Connie Saltonstall is ending her campaign for Congress in Michigan's 1st District.
WCF was one of the first organizations to endorse Saltonstall when she stood up to challenge the anti-choice villain of the health care debate, Bart Stupak. But unfortunately, Saltonstall now serves as yet another example of our current political system failing women.
Saltonstall has been active in her county Democratic Party for years, and stands extremely disappointed at their preemptive support of Gary McDowell--an act she sees as a betrayal of the party platform for political expediency:
"I can no longer support the Michigan democratic party when they deliberately sacrifice women's rights."
She notes that the voters in her district have never been given the chance to vote for a pro-choice candidate, and she thinks the results might surprise party leaders if they took the chance.
Unfortunately, we see this scenario all too often: The political establishment on both sides of the aisle will not step outside of their comfort zones to support women.
"WCF's support has meant everything to me. The first act I did in my campaign was to come to your parties in March, and the people that I met and the reception that I received was so encouraging and heartening that it set the tone for the whole campaign," Saltonstall said.
Saltonstall stood up for women when it mattered most. She rallied the pro-choice community behind her to send the message, "Bart Stupak, your days in power are numbered." WCF, Feminist Majority, NOW, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood all endorsed her.
Saltonstall's grassroots, pro-woman message showed that even in a so-called "conservative" district, women candidates change the conversation.
"I want women to know that their rights are at extreme risk...I don't think women understand how precarious our situation is," Saltonstall said.
Saltonstall's message hit home, and Stupak bowed out of the race in a cloud of ignominy. However, the field was suddenly crowded with opportunistic candidates who seemed frighteningly familiar: They were anti-choice white males.
Saltonstall, who had been there from the beginning and had the most money, could not get any traction with party leaders who were set on Stupak: The Sequel.
Despite this anti-woman blow to her District, Saltonstall isn't done working for women:
"I will continue to fight for women's rights. This is the time to fight."
We congratulate Connie Saltonstall on an inspiring campaign, and we know she will continue to be a leader for women, no matter where she goes next.